“Abbas has budgeted more than $350,000,000 for terrorists and their families. Maybe the PA should pay for Palestinian education rather than Palestinian terror?” Security Minister Erdan suggested.
By: United with Israel Staff
The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday made it clear to the world that if forced to choose, it will pay salaries to terrorists rather than for the education of Palestinian children.
Recent reports claimed that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), dedicated solely to serve the Palestinians, did not have enough money to open up the UNRWA school system for over 320,000 Palestinian children.
UNRWA’s budget for the schools could easily be covered by the PA from the money it spends paying terrorist prisoners and families of so-called “Martyrs,” terrorists killed while attacking Israelis. Yet PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced on official PA TV that “Israel considers them (i.e., terrorist prisoners) criminals… Even if we need to cut from our flesh, we will continue to give the support and aid.”
He didn’t say a word about using money to open up the schools for Palestinian children, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) noted.
On Thursday, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl announced that the schools will open on time but the problem is not solved.
“While announcing today the opening of the school year, I wish to be clear that UNRWA is by no stretch of the imagination out of the woods. Since January 2018, UNRWA has mobilized $238 million of additional funding, which is very encouraging. However, we currently only have funding to run the Agency’s services until the end of September. We need a further $217 M to ensure that our schools not only open but can be run until the end of the year.”
For the year 2018, the PA allocated NIS 1.237 billion for salaries to terrorist prisoners, released terrorist prisoners, the families of deceased terrorists and wounded terrorists. These funds, paid to fewer than 100,000 people, are more than one-third of the entire budget of the PA’s Ministry of Education (NIS 3.35 billion), which provides educational services for over a million Palestinians, PMW pointed out.
UNRWA’s budget deficit – no more than 800 million shekels – is cumulative for all of the UNRWA-run schools (including those in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon). In total, these schools provide education to 526,000 students, of which, according to the UNRWA 2017 annual report, less than 320,000 live in the PA-controlled areas. Accordingly, the deficit to provide educational services to students resident in the PA areas would be substantially less.
However, instead of educating its children, the PA continuously rejects the demand that it cease paying terrorists and their families and relies on the international community to provide basic services.
PA Shirks its Responsibility
Just three days ago, during a meeting between PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and a delegation from the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, led by the newly appointed Director of the Commission Qadri Abu Bakr, Hamdallah emphasized that “the firm position of the leadership” headed Abbas is full commitment to pay the terror stipends “despite the challenges.”
“The provision of all types of support to the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs in its lofty and patriotic activities for our brave prisoners in the occupation’s jails is continuing,” Hamdallah stated.
He emphasized that the prisoners are “the spearhead of the Palestinian struggle, and that they are the ones who have sacrificed the years of their lives for our just cause.”
“The contrast between UNRWA’s financial crisis and the PA’s insistence on continuing to reward terrorism exposes and highlights how the PA shirks its responsibility to provide basic services to its people, relying instead on international aid so that it can continue its repugnant practice of rewarding terrorism,” PMW stated.
PMW called on “all the relevant actors, including the UN and PA donor countries, to demand that the PA prioritize the provision of education to its children rather than continue rewarding terrorism.”
Israeli Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan tweeted that UNRWA “says it needs $217,000,000 to run schools for Palestinian children. It wants President Donald Trump and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to foot the bill. Abbas has budgeted more than $350,000,000 for terrorists and their families. Maybe the PA should pay for Palestinian education rather than Palestinian terror? #Crazy Idea.”
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